Donald Trump came to the White House with a desire to adjust U.S. foreign policy to the ongoing shifts in the international system. As a hardcore realist, he wanted to improve U.S.-Russia relations, perceiving the latter as an important counterweight to quickly-growing China and a potential partner in dealing with religious fundamentalism. Nevertheless, of all Trump’s policy initiatives, this one has encountered the most resistance from entrenched American elites. Combined with massive propaganda campaign alleging Russian interference in the U.S. elections (that seems to target Trump no less than Russia), the President’s opponents are pursuing an agenda that will have long-term consequences for both countries. The elite’s refusal to recognize the scale and the potential consequences of the ongoing world power shifts and the consistent exaggeration of both the RF’s power capabilities and the seriousness of its threat to Western interests create a
distorted virtual reality, handicapping the Global North’s ability to deal with newly emerging threats. These policies incrementally push Russia toward China, strengthen the hawks within Putin’s inner circle, and lead to further conservative shifts in his foreign and domestic policies.